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WotC Gale Force 9 Sues WotC [Updated]

In the second lawsuit against WotC in recent weeks (Dragonlance authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman sued the company for breach of contract and other things about a month ago), Gale Force 9 is suing the company for breach of contract and implied duty of good faith.

Gale Force 9 produces miniatures, cards, DM screens, and other D&D accessories. They’re asking for damages of nearly a million dollars, as well as an injunction to prevent WotC from terminating the licensing contract.

From the suit, it looks like WotC wanted to end a licensing agreement a year early. When GF9 didn't agree to that, WotC indicated that they would refuse to approve any new licensed products from GF9. It looks like the same sort of approach they took with Weis and Hickman, which also resulted in a lawsuit. The dispute appears to relate to some product translations in non-US markets. More information as I hear it!

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UPDATE. GF9's CEO, Jean-Paul Brisigotti, spoke to ICv2 and said: "After twelve years of working with Wizards, we find ourselves in a difficult place having to utilize the legal system to try and resolve an issue we have spent the last six months trying to amicably handle between us without any success. We still hope this can be settled between us but the timeline for a legal resolution has meant we have been forced to go down this path at this time."

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

ardoughter

Hero
Supporter
When I started the PHB was one weeks rent or two days wages or a weeks board at parents.

Didn't really have hobbies, couldn't afford them.

Buying D&D was doable because I didn't smoke, do drugs or drink that much. One could buy 4 litres of whiskey and have $5 left over.

Proportionally it's cheaper now as it's still double the cost of USA.

It's enough that if a kid went and asked their parents for the core books it's not exactly an automatic yes. $225 for the 3 of them. Throw in an adventure (starter set) and extra set of dice it's $300 ($216 USD).

Two years of Netflix with pocket change left over.
It would be a Christmas yes, that is cheaper than a console
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
It would be a Christmas yes, that is cheaper than a console

None of the kids I know have consoles themselves they're around $500 here.

The ones with them in the house Dad's bought them for himself and kids get to use them.

Tablets quite common though.

If dad has already bought one (mum's tend to go for the switch) Xbox game pass is way better deal than D&D.
 
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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
When I started the PHB was one weeks rent or two days wages or a weeks board at parents.

Didn't really have hobbies, couldn't afford them.

Buying D&D was doable because I didn't smoke, do drugs or drink that much. One could buy 4 litres of whiskey and have $5 left over.

Proportionally it's cheaper now as it's still double the cost of USA.

It's enough that if a kid went and asked their parents for the core books it's not exactly an automatic yes. $225 for the 3 of them. Throw in an adventure (starter set) and extra set of dice it's $300 ($216 USD).

Two years of Netflix with pocket change left over.

I think that we are talking past each other. First, I have to apologize as there may be differences due to country- I am discussing availability in the United States.

No one would seriously argue that it is costless; almost no activity is. Even something like jogging would require, at a minimum, regularly replacing your shoes.

The issue is whether the barrier to entry for D&D is primarily the cost of playing. I don't think it is. I could list innumerable ways for someone to get involved in D&D for a low cost- you can download the free basic rules; you can buy a starter or essentials set; you can get copies of the rules at a library; you can play with friends that have bought the rules; you can find variations of the SRD in numerous places; you can get used books; you can play prior editions; you can order used books over the internet of this or prior editions.

Compared to almost any other hobby, even compared to buying a pair of athletic shoes, D&D compares incredibly well. Heck, compare D&D to purchasing a few board games. When you compare the cost of D&D as a hobby and the amount of time that you can spend on it, it comes out as one of the more cost-effective, if not the most cost-effective option out there.

That said, I did write the following:
There are all sorts of barriers in life. Whether it's because of exclusionary groups, or because of the subject matter, or because playing D&D can be a huge time commitment (and not everyone has equal amounts of leisure time), or because, even today, the idea of playing a game that largely consists of reading, play-acting, and math does not appeal to everyone .... there are barriers.

Cost is not the sole issue when it comes to determining hobbies. D&D is a social hobby- it requires more people to play it. In addition, at least until the spread of youtube and twitch streaming, it did better when people learned how to play by playing at a table with other people that already know how to play. It requires a lot of time to play a campaign; leisure time is not something everyone has. Even today, the idea of playing a game that is primarily reading/acting/math does not appeal equally to everyone. And the whole "dragons and unicorns," is also not universally popular.

D&D is a discretionary leisure activity. IMO, it's remarkably cheap to get into. Moreover, there are free options that are available to anyone with internet access (which, given the prevalence of mobile phones, isn't that large of a barrier). Cost is not the barrier to entry. That doesn't mean that there aren't real barriers to entry to predominantly affect certain groups, but it isn't the cost of the product.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I think that we are talking past each other. First, I have to apologize as there may be differences due to country- I am discussing availability in the United States.

No one would seriously argue that it is costless; almost no activity is. Even something like jogging would require, at a minimum, regularly replacing your shoes.

The issue is whether the barrier to entry for D&D is primarily the cost of playing. I don't think it is. I could list innumerable ways for someone to get involved in D&D for a low cost- you can download the free basic rules; you can buy a starter or essentials set; you can get copies of the rules at a library; you can play with friends that have bought the rules; you can find variations of the SRD in numerous places; you can get used books; you can play prior editions; you can order used books over the internet of this or prior editions.

Compared to almost any other hobby, even compared to buying a pair of athletic shoes, D&D compares incredibly well. Heck, compare D&D to purchasing a few board games. When you compare the cost of D&D as a hobby and the amount of time that you can spend on it, it comes out as one of the more cost-effective, if not the most cost-effective option out there.

That said, I did write the following:
There are all sorts of barriers in life. Whether it's because of exclusionary groups, or because of the subject matter, or because playing D&D can be a huge time commitment (and not everyone has equal amounts of leisure time), or because, even today, the idea of playing a game that largely consists of reading, play-acting, and math does not appeal to everyone .... there are barriers.

Cost is not the sole issue when it comes to determining hobbies. D&D is a social hobby- it requires more people to play it. In addition, at least until the spread of youtube and twitch streaming, it did better when people learned how to play by playing at a table with other people that already know how to play. It requires a lot of time to play a campaign; leisure time is not something everyone has. Even today, the idea of playing a game that is primarily reading/acting/math does not appeal equally to everyone. And the whole "dragons and unicorns," is also not universally popular.

D&D is a discretionary leisure activity. IMO, it's remarkably cheap to get into. Moreover, there are free options that are available to anyone with internet access (which, given the prevalence of mobile phones, isn't that large of a barrier). Cost is not the barrier to entry. That doesn't mean that there aren't real barriers to entry to predominantly affect certain groups, but it isn't the cost of the product.


It's cost plus time plus social. DMs have to do prep work.

Personally I think it's main competition for buck us video games.

Consoles not cheap as such but it's something you might get anyway. We use ours more as an entertainment center than video games.

Much like a PC and internet a lot of people going to have it anyway.

Then you buy the books and often don't end up using them that much. Not a big deal for me as I like collecting.

Then the time things come into play and you have spent hundreds of dollars on stuff you don't end up using much if at all.

That may not apply to me as I'll make time but I suspect a few casuals have bought a PHB used it once or twice and that's the end of it. They have to find a group and then match up schedules or they're on call or don't have fixed hours.

When I run I have a fixed time. We are playing on this time and date every week. I expect you to turn up 75% of the time if you can't (50% or less) wrong group for you.

Usually replace players at that point espicially if you have more than one unreliable player.

Best case scenario you play with reliable friends and live in the USA. Haven't had a reliable group of friends for around a decade.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
From personal experience, these work hours will remove the D&D gaming from my life:
  • Being on-call (railroad related in my case): you go when the phone rings and you are out however long it takes to get from here to there and home again, 2 hours or 8 hours or anything in between.
  • A regular schedule of 10-hour days, 5-6 days a week: tired !
  • Evening/night shifts: runs over the time everybody else can meet up.
 

From personal experience, these work hours will remove the D&D gaming from my life:
  • Being on-call (railroad related in my case): you go when the phone rings and you are out however long it takes to get from here to there and home again, 2 hours or 8 hours or anything in between.
  • A regular schedule of 10-hour days, 5-6 days a week: tired !
  • Evening/night shifts: runs over the time everybody else can meet up.
I can relate to that. As a power engineer, I work the shifts. 2 days, 2 nights and four off duty days. 12h shifts but we are often required to work on overtime as as not everyone has the necessary knowledge and qualifications to man the boilers and the turbines. At least, I know that I can get home when the shifts over...
 

Hussar

Legend
When I started the PHB was one weeks rent or two days wages or a weeks board at parents.
/snip
Ok, I've seen you say this repeatedly.

How low is your rent? A week's rent, even when I lived in Canada and was splitting rent on a student apartment was 300 (ish) a month. That was sigh twenty plus years ago. Note, that was just my half of the rent, which was actually 600 CAD. And that was a very cheap place in London, Ontario.

Look, if you're living below poverty line, sure, any hobby is expensive. But, that's an obtuse argument. EVERYTHING is expensive if you are living below poverty line. Been there, done that. I remember the days where I had to make the decision to eat or pay a bill. Sure, I get that.

But in comparison to virtually any hobby out there, it's extremely difficult to find a cheaper /hour hobby. No, your computer game doesn't count, since you forgot to factor in the thousand (ish) dollars you paid for your computer.

Good grief, a D&D book is about the price of a decent meal at a sit down restaurant.
 

Hussar

Legend
Best case scenario you play with reliable friends and live in the USA. Haven't had a reliable group of friends for around a decade.
Or, you are like the tens of thousands of gamers that have realized that virtual tabletops are just as rewarding as live play and don't have any problem finding a group. I mean, I just left a group in May, and by July had a new group going. And the group I left had been playing together for about 6 years or so. Nice and stable.

The options are there.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I think that we are talking past each other. First, I have to apologize as there may be differences due to country- I am discussing availability in the United States.
And we are talking mostly about the situation outside the US? I mean, the pretext for this tangent is that due to this kerfuffle very likely delaying translations worldwide. Then we went into how much this is hurting the game growth because language could be a huge barrier to entry. but we are also talking how much the cost is also a barrier to entry for non-Americans?
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
And we are talking mostly about the situation outside the US? I mean, the pretext for this tangent is that due to this kerfuffle very likely delaying translations worldwide. Then we went into how much this is hurting the game growth because language could be a huge barrier to entry. but we are also talking how much the cost is also a barrier to entry for non-Americans?

I cannot speak to every country, but I have travelled a great deal (pre-covid). Most countries have access to the internet, either through computer or ubiquitous and inexpensive phone service.

There are numerous ways to get access to D&D rules now, whether for free (SRD, basic rules), or through country-adjusted cost. In addition, it is far easier today to get access than it has ever been in the past. I grew up overseas in a time when they only way to get access to the rules was to load up on books (which were MUCH more expensive back then, when you account for inflation) when I was in America.

But to answer your question- we were addressing cost, and how that is used as a pretext for theft. There are many things that cost money but are discretionary. Whether you choose to steal them or not to enhance your own leisure time is really a moral question that is up to you, but given that D&D is not a necessity to life, I do not find the moral argument to steal it persuasive.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
But in comparison to virtually any hobby out there, it's extremely difficult to find a cheaper /hour hobby. No, your computer game doesn't count, since you forgot to factor in the thousand (ish) dollars you paid for your computer.

Good grief, a D&D book is about the price of a decent meal at a sit down restaurant.
I've paid meals for five people in a nice place -kind of the nicest you can go without it being a dressup place- that are cheaper than what I paid for Tasha's. I've spent less on baking ingredients this year than I paid for Tasha's. (And I've been baking a lot this year).

In fact, baking is kind of a cheap hobby in comparison.

Also re: soccer. It is extremely cheap, all you need is a ball and a pair of sneakers per person that most people already own. Many kids could take it even cheaper by using a bag filled with trash. Boys in elementary school would inflate an empty juice box and use it as an improvised ball. You can't go cheaper than that.
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
I cannot speak to every country, but I have travelled a great deal (pre-covid). Most countries have access to the internet, either through computer or ubiquitous and inexpensive phone service.

There are numerous ways to get access to D&D rules now, whether for free (SRD, basic rules), or through country-adjusted cost. In addition, it is far easier today to get access than it has ever been in the past. I grew up overseas in a time when they only way to get access to the rules was to load up on books (which were MUCH more expensive back then, when you account for inflation) when I was in America.

But to answer your question- we were addressing cost, and how that is used as a pretext for theft. There are many things that cost money but are discretionary. Whether you choose to steal them or not to enhance your own leisure time is really a moral question that is up to you, but given that D&D is not a necessity to life, I do not find the moral argument to steal it persuasive.
I think the crux of the problem is we are having two different conversations at the same time. (I think only @Olrox17 and @Eltab have brought up piracy. The rest of us aren't defending it, but are rather more concerned on the demographics of this game, accessibility to it and the need for translations and official distribution outside America, we are a bunch of people outside America comparing experiences about the accessibility to the game outside America. Meanwhile you are trying to discuss about piracy while concerned almost exclusively about America)

Now, as far as being able to play D&D for nothing or next to nothing. Yes it is possible, yes it is doable, but you can't do it if you don't even know it is a thing to begin with. Which is a thing for the vast majority of the world population.
 

Olrox17

Hero
I think the crux of the problem is we are having two different conversations at the same time. (I think only @Olrox17 and @Eltab have brought up piracy. The rest of us aren't defending it, but are rather more concerned on the demographics of this game, accessibility to it and the need for translations and official distribution outside America, we are a bunch of people outside America comparing experiences about the accessibility to the game outside America. Meanwhile you are trying to discuss about piracy while concerned almost exclusively about America)

Now, as far as being able to play D&D for nothing or next to nothing. Yes it is possible, yes it is doable, but you can't do it if you don't even know it is a thing to begin with. Which is a thing for the vast majority of the world population.
To be clear, I'm not defending piracy. I'm just saying that people are much more likely to engage in it if WotC does not provide legit translations. Fan translations, after all, are technically piracy.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Now, as far as being able to play D&D for nothing or next to nothing. Yes it is possible, yes it is doable, but you can't do it if you don't even know it is a thing to begin with. Which is a thing for the vast majority of the world population.

But that gets to other, interesting, but complicated issues.

Even with the recent explosion in popularity, D&D (as a hobby that people play, as opposed to watch) is still niche. It's still niche in the United States. Because, as I have repeatedly stated, the main barriers to entry for playing D&D are not the cost of the products.

It is hardly surprising that as you move away from the country of origin, and away from anglophone countries, it gets more and more niche.

Put another way (and to paraphrase Mad Men), the problem with Jai Alai isn't marketing or people not knowing what it was. Maybe people are just terrified of ... catching balls in their face.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
I think the crux of the problem is we are having two different conversations at the same time. (I think only @Olrox17 and @Eltab have brought up piracy. The rest of us aren't defending it, but are rather more concerned on the demographics of this game, accessibility to it and the need for translations and official distribution outside America, we are a bunch of people outside America comparing experiences about the accessibility to the game outside America. Meanwhile you are trying to discuss about piracy while concerned almost exclusively about America)

Now, as far as being able to play D&D for nothing or next to nothing. Yes it is possible, yes it is doable, but you can't do it if you don't even know it is a thing to begin with. Which is a thing for the vast majority of the world population.
Olrox said it well.

A company can create circumstances where piracy is easy, or circumstances where piracy is hard - or even unnecessary.
Right now WotC is working on the former.
 

the need for translations and official distribution outside America, we are a bunch of people outside America comparing experiences about the accessibility to the game outside America.
Emphasis mine. D&D is a leisure product, there is no need for it anywhere. Their is value (for WotC as a product, for gamers as a game, for people as a social tool, etc) for it though.
Now, as far as being able to play D&D for nothing or next to nothing. Yes it is possible, yes it is doable, but you can't do it if you don't even know it is a thing to begin with. Which is a thing for the vast majority of the world population.
This makes the assumption that if something is of value (like D&D) then every person in the world should know about it and have access to it. That's just not realistic, if not simply impossible.

As for translation part of this discussion, and trying to get back to the topic :), translating a product is a business decision. One that WotC decided to invest in. There were (not surprisingly) issues. It doesn't mean they won't do translations in the future. It does mean that their are business issues to address. It does mean that consumers lose out while things go unresolved. And it also means that WotC loses out to.

Its not that WotC is some big bad evil megacorp, or Hasbro. It means it's a company dealing with complex relationships and issue. Ones that often get screwed up. Mostly because humans are involved and humans make mistakes, misunderstand each other, have different ideas and goals, etc.

IMO it will probably take them a year or two before they can start translations again. That sucks for everyone effected, but it's a leisure item and their are already more D&D content available for current gamers than you could ever play. Plus, at its core, D&D is a game where those at the table can make up whatever rules they want, for free. It's a game of make believe, go believe what you want to make the game happen!
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Ok, I've seen you say this repeatedly.

How low is your rent? A week's rent, even when I lived in Canada and was splitting rent on a student apartment was 300 (ish) a month. That was sigh twenty plus years ago. Note, that was just my half of the rent, which was actually 600 CAD. And that was a very cheap place in London, Ontario.

Look, if you're living below poverty line, sure, any hobby is expensive. But, that's an obtuse argument. EVERYTHING is expensive if you are living below poverty line. Been there, done that. I remember the days where I had to make the decision to eat or pay a bill. Sure, I get that.

But in comparison to virtually any hobby out there, it's extremely difficult to find a cheaper /hour hobby. No, your computer game doesn't count, since you forgot to factor in the thousand (ish) dollars you paid for your computer.

Good grief, a D&D book is about the price of a decent meal at a sit down restaurant.

At the time rent was $40 a week for my friend and the PHB was $45. That was 1996.

If you were willing to live in a dump last time I saw rent that low was 2002.

Rents gone crazy now idk what it is as I haven't paid any since 2009 so the books are cheaper relative to rent but it's around $150 USD for the fire books.

Two year subscription to Xbox game pass or over a year for Netflix/Amazon prime. Almost a whole weeks student allowance (I live in a student city).

Most university students middle class or better, and yeah it's very heavily white may as well be 100%. That's from 30 odd players in the gamestore and photos on facebook group with 1000 members.

Less diverse than the general population anyway.
 

crazy_cat

Explorer
I've paid meals for five people in a nice place -kind of the nicest you can go without it being a dressup place- that are cheaper than what I paid for Tasha's.
Really!!!???
Where do you live, and what did you pay? Genuinely interested, and frankly amazed!
I'm in the UK - and I will (when I get round to it) pay £30'ish for Tashas (with a loyalty card discount) at a local store, could pay less/at worst same at Amazon as an alternative.
For context, here (Cambridge, UK) £30 - a round of drinks for 4-5 people, or a meal for one (maybe stretching to a starter and main) with an alchoholic drink at a reasonable restaurant.
Edit: For additional context - a one bedroom flat to rent in Cambridge - at least £1,100 per month plus bills/utilities.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
As for those suggesting play online during lockdown it turned out that a few kids didn't have internet connections or PCs at home for remote learning.

So yeah can't even download the free rules. It's funny that a few people here claiming it's so cheap aren't actually aware of what it's like being poor or how much you can pay outside the US.

It's cheap if you're middle class. Right now in USA there's something like 20-30 million struggling to eat.

Nice dinner for two at a decent restaurant is cheaper than PHB.
 

crazy_cat

Explorer
It's cheap if you're middle class. Right now in USA there's something like 20-30 million struggling to eat.

Nice dinner for two at a decent restaurant is cheaper than PHB.
Isn't that just economics though?
Gaming is a luxury/non essesntial item - so the people selling it (WOTC and stores) price it as they see appropriate to maximise their revenue based on margin and volume, maximise return on investmnet, and achieve desired market coverage/penetration.
D&D is a luxury - nobody has a right to be able to simply expect to be able afford it.
Luxuries cost money, coming from discretionary spend from the money you have left over after essesntials are covered.
If buying D&D means not paying the rent or skipping food for a day/days/weeks then you really can't afford it.
That is sad, but it is also reality.
It also doesn't make pirating copies acceptable.
I can't afford a yacht - this doesn't mean it's OK for me to just put on an eyepatch, get a parrot, and then go and steal a nice shiny boat from the nearest marina :)
 

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